Zero Tolerance

Obedience invades the thoughts of most parents with teenagers who struggle with obedience. Sometimes there’s outright resistance. Sometimes there’s physical obedience with mental disobedience. Sometimes, fortunately, there’s also true obedience out of love and respect.

My boys knew we had zero tolerance disobedience and disrespect. Separating outright disobedience and disrespect from general teenage stupidity presents a challenge at times, but we do our best as parents to not just discipline when our kids are disrespectful and/or disobedient but to explain the serous impact of those behaviors both temporally and eternally.

Almost every time I disciplined my boys for disobedience or disrespect, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the presence of both issues in my own life. To help with this understanding, Isaiah 40:5-11 gives a picture of the Lord’s obedient servant.

The Obedient Servant

Just as God did with Isaiah, He gives new understanding of His will on a consistent and daily basis. He only asks that we diligently listen to Him, refuse to turn away from Him, and avoid hiding from Him (v. 4-6).

In paying attention to God, the benefits of obedience become increasingly evident.

  1. Courage. Dismay becomes dispelled and replaced by a stone-like, immovable quality (v. 7).
  2. Determination. His will becomes all that matters (v. 7).
  3. Confidence. Assurance of victory (v. 7).
  4. Presence. Always near His righteousness (v. 8).
  5. Certainty. Enemies destroyed and guilt erased (v. 8, 9).

Isaiah then goes on to describe two alternate realities that exist in opposition to obedience.

Alternate Reality

The first reality involves being so steeped in darkness we are incapable of turning to the light, and we can’t bear to see the lit path of obedience. The second involves existing in a false light, one where we create our own reality and our own truth to the point of no longer having an awareness of God’s light showing us the path of obedience. This reality is actually worse because seeing a light within a light is almost impossible.

The result of these alternate realities involves “great torment” (v. 11), referring to an eternal separation from God. When I realize the devastation accompanying disobedience as compared to the joy of obedience, I find motivation to seek His light in darkness and to rid my life of any false light leading me down the wrong path.

Parenting Lessons

As a parent, I want my kids to focus on the paths God lights before them and not on darkness or any self-created light. The perspective as a parent gives greater understanding of the fact that my Heavenly Father wants the same for me as His child.